Tirlán launches first ‘Low Carbon’ store in Kilkenny as part of €11 million investment plan

28 November 2023
Sustainable Story

Tirlán, Ireland’s leading farmer-owned food and nutrition business, has launched its first low carbon future store as part of its wider ‘Living Proof’ strategy to reduce emissions across its entire supply chain.

The Tirlán CountryLife retail store in Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny is the first in the co-operative’s 52-strong local branch network to roll-out the new technology as part of a wider €11 million investment programme into the development and enhancement of its stores across 13 counties. 

The pilot transformation includes the addition of 108 solar Pv panels to the roof of the agribusiness and garden centre building, alongside a 15kW battery storage. The system is designed to power over 50% of the store’s energy needs. 

Additional innovations in the pilot include the installation of educational displays across the store to inform customers about the energy savings that are being made, switching from gas to Bio LPG and green electric to support water and space heating, and harvesting rainwater to reduce mains water consumption. In addition, LED lighting has been introduced throughout the building. The Tirlán CountryLife store’s forklift has also been replaced with a greener, more efficient electric model.

The Castlecomer store was selected to lead the programme as it is one of Tirlán’s busiest and most high-tech branches with an electrical system that is set-up for more modern and sustainable energy generation and supply. Following this pilot, the low carbon future model will be rolled out in branches across Tirlán’s retail network.

Speaking about the low carbon future stores initiative, the Chairperson of Tirlán, John Murphy, said that this was an important part of implementing Tirlán’s ambitious ‘Living Proof’ sustainability strategy at local level.

John Murphy commented, “Under ‘Living Proof’ Tirlán has committed to reducing the carbon footprint at our sites and reducing absolute carbon emissions through improved energy efficiency, technology developments and migration to further renewable energy sources. 

“Achieving our targets requires action at all levels of our co-op across production, distribution and sales. That is why introducing the low carbon future model across our retail branches is as much part of this journey as any of the other measures that we are taking.

“We’re particularly excited about sharing the information we will glean on savings made with our family farm suppliers, our customers and members of our communities in support of a greener energy transition. Our branches are a focal point for communities and we’re conscious of the importance of highlighting our actions to support sustainability to our customers and the younger generation. We acknowledge and appreciate the huge level of work across all our facilities and our farms as we all strive to reach our 2030 goals.”

Dr. Ailish Byrne, Director of Agribusiness, Tirlán, addedTirlán and its family farm suppliers are acutely aware that there is no company whose business model will not be profoundly affected by climate change and the transition to a net zero economy by 2050. 

“As a farmer-owned, community-centred co-operative, we’re serious about playing our part and showcasing best practice in this sector.” 

Senan Foley, Head of Retail at Tirlán added “The technology we’re using as part of this pilot means we can collect and measure consumption and savings, in order to refine the approach we take on this low carbon transition across our retail estate.

“Working in partnership with PV Generation, who also provide the technical expertise on our FarmGen solar project, along with our own in-house experts, we look forward to the wider roll-out of this low carbon operating model in stores across our Tirlán CountryLife and Tirlán FarmLife network.”